Schools Canceled as Israel Braces for Major Storm

Municipality cancels classes for Wednesday as heavy snow expected to set in, following heavy winds throughout Tuesday.

Shlomo Pyotrkovsky, Ari Yashar,

Municipal workers prepare snow plows in Jerusalem
Municipal workers prepare snow plows in Jerusalem
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

As heavy cold winds strike Jerusalem heralding the approaching snow storm on Tuesday night, the Jerusalem Municipality announced classes would be cancelled on Wednesday at schools, preschools and day-care centers.

The Municipality explained that the decision was made so as to ensure the safety of students and residents due to predictions of heavy snowfall in the capital for Wednesday.

Up to date information about the approaching storm can be found on the Jerusalem Municipality's web page, Facebook page, cellphone application, Twitter and in the news, noted the Municipality in its announcement.

Jerusalem's welfare department has been passing out emergency kits for the financially needy who are defined as being in high risk from the intense cold.

Aside from the schools, the Justice Ministry announced that on Wednesday and Thursday the ministry's branches in Jerusalem are to be closed to the public.

Ahead of the storm, the Jerusalem Municipality has taken drastic measures to anticipate problems, with a platoon of 150 plows brought into the city, and talk of closing roads in and out of the capital from Tuesday evening until as far as Saturday to prevent congestion.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and other senior figures on Tuesday to assess preparations, and said "beyond what the state is doing, and will do, beyond what municipalities are doing, and will do - I ask the citizens of Israel to just keep an eye on their neighbors and help them."

A nation-wide storm

The regional authorities in Judea and Samaria that are due to face the full force of the storm have yet to decide whether or not to hold classes tomorrow. In Beit El, it was decided to end the school day early at 12 p.m., unless the snow starts to set in earlier than that, while in nearby Shiloh, community leaders say it is "highly likely" school will be cancelled until Sunday.

Meanwhile, south of Jerusalem school has officially been cancelled in Gush Etzion and Efrat.

In the Negev there is a sand storm warning in effect and rain has already been reported on and off in the north since Tuesday morning. Snow has fallen on Mt. Hermon and on several high points in the far north. A flood warning is in effect for all low-lying areas. 

The heavy rain and wind is expected to continue throughout Wednesday, with rain reaching the northern Negev. Cities at higher elevations in the north and center, including Jerusalem and Tzfat (Safed), are expected to see snowfall. Light snow is also projected to fall in the higher regions of the Negev as well and the region will be unseasonably cold. 

Rain is expected to fall throughout the country on Thursday, with snowfall continuing in the affected areas. Winds are expected to slow; temperatures are projected to remain cool. Light rain will continue Friday from the north to the Negev, and the central district may continue to see snowfall. 

The high levels of preparation for the storm comes after record snows during the winter of 2013, which left millions without power throughout the north and center of the country and floods wreaking havoc on coastal and western cities. 




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